Division rivals Oakland Athletics and Seattle Mariners open a four-game set at T-Mobile Park on Thursday evening.
The A’s will be looking to close the gap between themselves and the division leaders Houston Astros who are currently three games ahead of them in the standings. Meanwhile, the Mariners hope to cut into the A’s lead over them for second place. Seattle is currently 3.5 games behind Oakland and 6.5 games back of Houston.
The Oakland A’s had five home games to open the second half of the season but were only able to manage a 3-2 record. They lost two of three against Cleveland before sweeping the Angels in their two-game set. They now begin a 10-game road trip which ends in Anaheim next week. At 55-42, Oakland is currently 3.5 games behind the division-leading Houston Astros who are at 58-38.
First baseman Matt Olson leads the A’s with 96 hits and a batting average of .291. Olson has driven in a total of 63 runs this season with 25 home runs. Jed Lowrie has 84 hits and Elvis Andrus 76. The Athletics are ranked 23rd in batting average of 0.233
Sean Manea will open for the A’s on Thursday. The 29-year old southpaw has started 19 games this season and has posted a record of 6-6 with an ERA of 3.28 and a WHIP of 1.20. He has struck out 115 hitters while walking 25 in 109.2 innings pitched this season. In his last appearance, Manea gave up three runs on seven hits with seven strikeouts in 5 ⅓ innings against Cleveland and did not factor in the decision.
Moneyline Odds: Athletics -137, Mariners +127
Odds from BetOnline as of 07/22/2021
The Seattle Mariners returned from the All-Star break with five straight road games. They won two out of three against Los Angeles last weekend before picking up a 6-4 win over Colorado on Tuesday. The Mariners dropped a 6-3 game to the Rockies on Wednesday to fall to 51-45 on the season, seven games off Houston’s lead and 3.5 games back of Oakland.
Shortstop J.P Crawford leads Seattle with a batting average of .275 with 96 hits. Mitch Haniger has 94 hits and a team-leading 22 home runs this season. Third baseman Ty France has 86 hits while Kyle Seager has 75 hits. The Mariners are dead-last in the AL with a batting average of .220.
Right-hander Chris Flexen will start for the Mariners in Game 1. The 27-year old has 17 starts this season and has posted a record of 9-3 with an ERA of 3.35 and a WHIP of 1.20. Flexen has 65 strikeouts and 20 walks while pitching in a total of 99.1 innings this season. He gave up one run on six hits with one walk and two strikeouts over seven innings in a 6-5 win over the Angels last Friday.
Oakland is 5-2 in their last seven games played. The A’s are 10-2 in their last 12 games after an off day, 5-2 in their last seven games as betting favorites, 4-0 in their last four games against the AL West, and 7-3 in their last 10 games when the total is set between 7.0 to 8.5.
Seattle is 6-2 in their last eight games overall. The Mariners are 7-2 in their last Game 1s of a series, 6-2 in their last eight games as underdogs, and 5-2 in their last seven games against the American League West. However, Seattle is 26-56 in their last 92 games when their opponent allows two or fewer runs in their previous game.
Head to head, the A’s have taken three out of the last four meetings between these two teams.
Seattle struggled through the first months of the 2021 season but since the All-Star break, they have looked good. The Mariners have won six out of their last eight games played and have plated in 23 runs in their last four games played.
However, the Mariners head to this game having played on the road for its first five games of the second half of the season so fatigue could be a factor here. Meanwhile, the A’s are well-rested after playing five consecutive home games and getting a rest on Wednesday.
Both starters are solid and should be able to give a good account of themselves. However, Oakland has the more dangerous offense and they are well-rested against a Seattle team that is returning home with fatigue.
Prediction: Oakland Athletics
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The total has gone under in five out of the last six games played by the A’s. Oakland has seen the total go under in four out of their last five games played on the road. The under is also 4-0 in their last four games as the betting favorite, 6-1 in their last seven games against the American League West, 9-1 in their last 10 games when their opponent allows more than 5 runs in a game, and 7-2 in their last nine games against a right-handed starter.
The total has gone under in Seattle’s last five home games against a left-handed starter and 5-2 in their last seven overall against a lefty. The under is also 5-2 when the total is set between 7 to 8.5, 6-2 in their last eight Thursday games, 27-20-2 in their 49 home games played this season and 22-28-2 in their last 52 games against the American League.
Over/Under Odds: Over 8 (-103), Under 8 (-117)
Odds from BetOnline as of 07/22/2021
Both starting pitchers have been excellent this season. Manea has cemented his spot in the middle of a stacked Oakland rotation with an ERA of 3.28 and WHIP of 1.20 with 115 strikeouts in 109 innings. Likewise, Flexen has been equally impressive with his 3.35 ERA and WHIP of 1.20 with 65 strikeouts.
Despite their current hot streak, the Mariners still rank 23rd in the majors in scoring at 4.15 runs per game. The A’s are averaging 4.40 runs per contest but given the quality of the starting pitchers in this game, there’s a good chance both teams miss their season averages.
Prediction: Under 8
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